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Why?

Why?

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,

“The Lord said to my Lord,

‘Sit at my right hand,

until I put your enemies under your feet’ ”?

If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions. — Matthew 22:41-46 (NRSV)

What is worse than a question? Perhaps it is the question to which one doesn’t have the right answer, or any answer at all. The Pharisees, guys who thought they had all the answers, found that this was one where the answer they had was wrong.

In my humble opinion, questions are what make the world go around and keep it turning. Every time we think we have answers, it is like the questions change and we’re back at square one, looking for answers again. The image of the toddler who is just beginning to wander around comes to mind, along with the inevitable and unending questions they always ask, “What’s that?” or worse, “Why?” There are a lot of times we don’t have an answer to that “Why?” but we still get our feet held to the fire by a three-year-old for whom “Because” is not a sufficient answer.

I wonder if God gets tired of “Why?” prayers. Why is there suffering in the world? Why do ducks fly rightside up instead of upside down? Why did I survive an accident where someone else died? Why are there mosquitoes? Why was this person born with physical or developmental challenges? Why can’t I ever remember where I put my keys or parked my car? Why do I have this illness when I didn’t do anything wrong to cause it? I don’t think even Solomon could stand up to an onslaught like that. Luckily, God’s got patience and, incidentally, all the answers — the right ones.

One thing about being an EfM mentor is that I get to ask questions, lots of questions, in our TR sessions. What’s even better is that I don’t have to have the answers because each person’s answers are usually different and geared to their own personal journey. The best thing, though, is even though I go into a TR with an idea of how I think it should go, quite often it goes in a totally different and totally unthought-of direction but I still end up having my own insights as well as sharing in the insights of others.

Humankind has always questioned and I don’t think that’s ever going to change. The disciples had a lot of questions for Jesus, but what they got weren’t cut-and-dried, easy answers. We still ask questions of all kinds, silly ones, ponderous ones, wishful ones, even agonized ones at times, but we ask all the same. The answers I get aren’t always ones I want to hear, just as sometimes I don’t really seem to get any answer at all, which personally drives me nuts. Still, I question, I look for answers and I try to be open to whatever comes from the search.

My question now is what am I supposed to be doing in my life — oh, and where do those stray socks go when only a single sock of a pair comes out of the dryer?

Linda Ryan co-mentors 2 EfM Online groups and keeps the blog Jericho’s Daughter

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Linda Ryan

Thanks for the comment. I agree that the Word does have interesting ways of getting around. But then, would a creative God keep using methods that may have worked before but which are less effective now? I don’t think so, in fact, I have a feeling God is amused by our need to constantly be re-introduced to the Word in new ways.

EH Culver

In all my years at Perkins School of Theology, no one has asked me about the homoousion or the hypostatic union. The burning questions tend to be about computers: Why can’t I get onto the Internet? Why doesn’t my password work? Which website is best for whatever? Is there an App for that?

Believing, as I do, that God has all the bases loaded as well as all the dice, I think that the Word is finding some interesting ways of getting around these days.

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